The Process (Skinny Puppy album)

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The Process
A sepia photograph of a miniature apartment complex, taken by Steven R. Gilmore
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 27, 1996
RecordedNovember 1993 - May 1995
Studio
Genre
Length43:08
Label
Producer
Skinny Puppy chronology
Last Rights
(1992)
The Process
(1996)
The Greater Wrong of the Right
(2004)
Singles from Post Self
  1. "Candle"
    Released: 1996

The Process is the eighth studio album by Canadian industrial band Skinny Puppy. Released through American Recordings on February 27, 1996, The Process was the band's final album before reforming in 2000 and releasing The Greater Wrong of the Right in 2004.[1] Skinny Puppy's keyboardist, Dwayne Goettel, died near the end of The Process's creation,[2] and the album was fraught with difficult production and record label intrusion.[3][4]

Background and concept[edit]

"Jahya" was the first song recorded for The Process, and it was the only song recorded at Skinny Puppy's regular studio, Mushroom Studios.[5] The album's producer changed multiple times, from Roli Mosimann to Martin Atkins to Dave Ogilvie.[6] According to cEvin Key, their label, American Recordings, had pressured the band into adopting a more commercial sound or more industrial metal sound similar to Nine Inch Nails. Following tensions between band members, Nivek Ogre left the band[2] on June 12, 1995. American Recordings decided to drop Skinny Puppy after the release of The Process. The band's keyboardist, Dwayne Goettel, died of a heroin overdose[2] shortly thereafter on August 23, 1995.[7] Following Dwayne's death, cEvin and Dave completed mixing of The Process.

The Process was intended to be a concept album about a psychotherapy cult from the 1960s[2] known as The Process Church of the Final Judgement, which Ogre was introduced to by Genesis P. Orridge. The song "Blue Serge" was one of Key's first experiments with a modular synthesizer.[8]

Artwork[edit]

Alternate full-color version of the art

The cover art, which depicts a photograph of a miniature model,[9] is by Steven R. Gilmore.[10] Gilmore created the art in the memory of Goettel and his wife Colette. About the cover, he wrote:

"The single lit window is a metaphor for the people we have lost and who have gone on to a better place. The remaining darkened rooms represent the people left behind who have to come face to face with grief, survivors guilt and depression."[11]

A full-color version of the cover was considered, but ultimately Gilmore chose the sepia-tinted artwork as the final product.[12]

Release[edit]

At the time of its release, The Process was considered to be the final Skinny Puppy album;[7][13] the liner notes simply say "The End" after the album credits.[14] However, Ogre and Key reformed the band in 2000 and finally released in 2004 a new album, The Greater Wrong of the Right, eight years after the release of The Process.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2/5 stars[2]
Calgary Herald3/5 stars[15]
CMJMixed[1]
Detroit Free Press2/4 stars[16]
Kerrang!Favorable[17]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[18]
Melody MakerFavorable[19]
NME3/10[20]
The San Francisco Examiner3/4 stars[21]
Select1/5[22]

The Process received generally mixed reviews from critics. AllMusic writer Steve Huey criticized the album for failing to convey any of its concepts, but concluded, "Still, credit must be given to the band for having finished the record at all, and in its own way, the confusion of The Process speaks volumes".[2] Nicholas Maltezos of The Record awarded the album one star out four, stating that "Skinny Puppy's sound was certainly original - the group's synthesizer-dominated rock could have easily served as the background music for a dream sequence in a horror or sci-fi movie. But "The Process" is just a nightmare of a recording".[23] Writing for NME, John Perry felt the album was "far from being the industrial, goth knees-up you'd expect", and did little to hold the listeners interest. Perry concluded by saying, "you can't help feeling it would have been better all round if they hadn't bothered".[20] Ben Mitchell of Select panned the album, writing that "an unerring inability to distinguish arse from elbow throughout results in a flimsy 11-track approximation of a gang of mildly irritated moped riders attempting a stage invasion at a Jean-Michel Jarre concert".[22]

James Muretich of the Calgary Herald was impressed by tracks such as "Candle" and wrote that "the band at least goes out with more of a bark than a whimper".[15] Rommie Johnson of The Tampa Tribune gave a mixed review, awarding the album two stars out of four. Johnson said that the Last Rights track "Download" would have been "the perfect ending" for the band, and that The Process presented nothing new. Johnson concluded on a more positive note, saying that the album "only sounds weak in light of Puppy's track record" and that "the band still make Nine Inch Nails sound like sissies".[24] Steve Byrne of the Detroit Free Press said "Goettel and Puppy devotees deserve a better epitaph than 'The Process'", concluding that the album was "bogged down in [the] B-horror-movie mode that the band has explored more relevantly before".[16]

Some critics reviewed the album more favorably. Sandy Masuo of the Los Angeles Times described the album as being "full of intriguing vagaries", filled with "driving dance grooves, both choppy and smooth". Masuo also praised the song "Candle", calling it a "suitably moody swan song".[18] Malcolm X. Abram of The Atlanta Constitution praised the band's experimentation with new sounds and styles, saying that the album "may final garner this musical institution some attention outside the protective umbrella of industrial fans".[25] Stephen Parrish of The Morning Call offered similar feelings, saying the band "just might enjoy some post-mortem glory with 'The Process'", and commended the songs "Death" and "Candle".[26] Steffan Chirazi of the San Francisco Examiner said that "for newcomers, the album is a fascinating and unnerving trip through psychosis. For Skinny Puppy, 'The Process' represents uncomfortable closure and some cohesion".[21] Daniel Lukes of Kerrang! commended the album, calling it "the most poignant, elegiac and human album of their career".[17]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleLength
1."Jahya"3:34
2."Death"3:56
3."Candle"4:58
4."Hardset Head"4:06
5."Cult"3:03
6."Process"5:02
7."Curcible"3:28
8."Blue Serge"5:13
9."Morter"4:39
10."Amnesia"4:20
11."Cellar Heat"0:49
Total length:43:08

Personnel[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1996) Peak
position
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[27] 30
US Billboard 200[28] 102
US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)[29] 1
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[30] 48

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jarman, David (March 1996). "Skinny Puppy 'The Process'". CMJ New Music Monthly (31): 44.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Huey, Steve. "The Process Review". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  3. ^ Gourley, Bob. "Skinny Puppy frontman Nivek Ogre interviewed about his ohGr side project". chaoscontrol.com. Chaos Control. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  4. ^ Yücel, Ilker. "Skinny Puppy InterView: Shapes for Arms – Pt. 2". regenmag.com. Regen Magazine. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  5. ^ Key, cEvin. "Jahya was the first song recorded for the album. Was the only song I wrote in Mushroom. Recorded w Ken Marshall, starting with a 20 foot long 2" tape loop of live played Piano. Then layed down the big purple puppy acoustic kit drums to compose the song. Guitar was later added at the Process sessions in Malibu by Patrick Sproule additional modular synths were not worked in until a year or so later, so it came in pieces". Facebook. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  6. ^ Robbins, Ira (1997). The Trouser Press Guide to 90's Rock. Fireside. p. 657. ISBN 0-684-81437-4.
  7. ^ a b McCaughey, Brian F. (1996). "Skinny Puppy: A Difficult Process". RIP Magazine.
  8. ^ Key, cEvin (January 2012). "cEvin Key, Skinny Puppy – Waveshaper TV Ep.1 – IDOW Archive Series". I Dream of Wires (Interview). Waveshaper Media. Event occurs at 7:29. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  9. ^ Gilmore, Steven R. "After 25 hours of retouching the Skinny Puppy "The Process"". Instagram. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  10. ^ Kern, Jay (2010). Skinny Puppy: The Illustrated Discography (Second Edition). Mythos Press. p. 46.
  11. ^ Gilmore, Steven R. "Gilmore cover art Facebook post". Facebook. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  12. ^ Gilmore, Steven R. "Gilmore full-color cover art Facebook post". Facebook. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  13. ^ "Skinny Puppy—The Process". CMJ New Music Monthly. College Media Inc. (March 1996).
  14. ^ The Process (Media notes). Skinny Puppy. Los Angeles, California: American Recordings. 1996.CS1 maint: others (link)
  15. ^ a b Muretich, James (March 10, 1996). "Skinny Puppy: The Process (American)". Calgary Herald: C2.
  16. ^ a b Byrne, Steve (April 14, 1996). "Skinny Puppy - The Process". Detroit Free Press: 4H.
  17. ^ a b Lukes, Daniel (March 3, 2007). "Where to Start with Skinny Puppy". Kerrang! (1148): 53. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  18. ^ a b Masuo, Sandy (March 3, 1996). "Skinny Puppy "The Process"". Los Angeles Times: 326. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Skinny Puppy 'The Process' Review". Melody Maker: 35. February 17, 1996.
  20. ^ a b Perry, John. "Skinny Puppy The Process". NME. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  21. ^ a b Chirazi, Steffan (March 3, 1996). "Pain, Loss and Trauma - Puppies Have It". The San Francisco Examiner: 53.
  22. ^ a b Mitchell, Ben (March 1996). "New Albums: Skinny Puppy - The Process". Select (69): 97. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  23. ^ Maltezos, Nicholas (July 19, 1996). "Skinny Puppy, "The Process" (American Recordings; Running Time: 43:13 11 Tracks)". The Record: 11.
  24. ^ Johnson, Rommie (March 29, 1996). "Skinny Puppy - The Process (American)". The Tampa Tribune: 23.
  25. ^ Abram, Malcolm X. (April 4, 1996). "Skinny Puppy "The Process"". The Atlanta Constitution: D8.
  26. ^ Parrish, Stephen (March 9, 1996). "Skinny Puppy: The Process". The Morning Call: A48.
  27. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 2925". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  28. ^ "Skinny Puppy Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  29. ^ "Skinny Puppy Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  30. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Skinny Puppy – The Process". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 21, 2014.

External links[edit]